Death has no selection, when it visits you, no negotiations.Sadly, Annita Mapiye met her demise in a fiery helicopter crash in Arcturus on Friday.
The 30-year-old was the first female combat helicopter pilot at the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
She drew her inspiration from Captain Chipo Matimba, the first female to become a combat pilot in 1996 and Mapiye followed her footsteps.
Despite many young women joining the AFZ as pilots, none had plunged into the deep waters of piloting a fighter helicopter, until recently.
She joined the force in 2012 at the age of 21. And, that was after her father insisted she must abandon her dream of being a medical practitioner.
Previously she had said the road to where she was today, was not a walk in the park.
She said, she would train with men, carrying out the same duties with them, and were expected to perform equally.
She advised other women and girls that they should always think positively of themselves and be innovative for change, build their lives, think smart and be confident.
Mapiye came from a family that was dominated by medical practitioners.
Mapiye joined the Airforce in 2012 at the age of 21 after her father insisted she must abandon her dream of being a medical practitioner. Annita Mapiye came 5th on our Basic Military Training out of 46 trainees. She became the first female helicopter combatant pilot aged 28. In 2015, Mapiye began the basic training for pilots, which is called the Genet SF260 Fixed Wing, which is just a normal plane.
After completion of the basic training, Mapiya enlisted for combat helicopter training. Mapiye’s colleagues, including her superiors, tried to talk her out of her decision.
Mapiye accomplished her dream and became a VIP pilot and the first female pilot to fly President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mapiye, who has flown President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was killed with another pilot, a wing commander, and a technician when an Air Force of Zimbabwe Bell 412 crashed into a house in the Hukuru neighbourhood.
A child who was on the ground died after the helicopter caught fire, while a young girl and her mother who are now admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare sustained serious burns.
Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo issued a statement Friday evening offering his condolences saying names of the deceased would be announced once their relatives have been notified.
The Air Force said the crew, who took off from Manyame Air Force Base, was on a “general handling training sortie” over Seke and Domboshava when they lost contact, triggering a search and rescue effort.
Air Marshal Moyo said an air accident investigation would begin immediately to establish what caused the crash. Mapiye joined the Air Force in 2012 at the age of 21.